This story is part of Image Issue 13, “Image Makers,” a celebration of LA publishers redefining the narrative possibilities of fashion. read full story Here,
Eddie Lopez Bautista wants to be clear, so listen up. “I’m not going to be typecast.” A stylist and model, the Highland Park native has a close affinity with imagery. especially the imagery he grew up with, references that can only come from His Pocket of Northeast LA, which is typical. The outfit he wore for a portrait captured by Dorian Ulysses López Macias outside the T-shirt warehouse at York, an HLP Institute (a striking image of the time) paint by artist Rafa Esparza). Royal blue Dodgers hat, white tank and gold chain Same cap, same tank, same chain López Bautista saw his brothers in the late 90s and early 2000s, when they went from their fade to their Used to spend hours making sure everything until fit. was on point.
“L.A. has many pockets and many style influences in those pockets,” says López Bautista. “We are not just broad LA – LA is not a place and I think it is important for the people of LA to participate in these projects that are meant to showcase and highlight LA”
The 25-year-old started his modeling career on the sets, where he was working as a stylist. López Bautista has a charming face: warm brown eyes that contrast with a chiseled jaw, sharp brows (with slits, of course), a Colgate smile that can disarm someone in seconds. He has jet black hair and mahogany skin. Tattoos and a nose stud. The photographers asked him if he would ever consider being a part of the crew instead of behind the camera. Since then, he has been in campaigns for Shaka Weir, Willie Chavarria New York and Born X Raised, as well as the music video for Omar Apollo’s “Tamagotchi”, among other projects.
He stepped into the occasion because he sees modeling in a similar way to styling: having a hand in creating an image that is authentic to him, his family, and his friends – referencing time and space in a way that is natural. And be real and not just for trend or effect. “I want others to know that they shouldn’t allow themselves to be typecast. That doesn’t mean Latinx don’t do stuff with regards to identity,” López Bautista says. “It means only what is authentic and true to you. Participate in things that mean something to you. Never work for success or fame, do it for the sake of art.”
Julissa James: What was it like growing up in Highland Park?
Eddie Lopez Bautista: Highland Park has been the face of gentrification in Northeast LA, it’s important to talk about it. Growing up there was completely different – there were no coffee shops on York Boulevard. But there was definitely a good understanding of family, community. I am of first generation. Both my parents are from Michoacan, Mexico. When they lived in Highland Park, and their family most importantly believed in their community. Those families are able to bind themselves together because of immigration and because of coming here while chasing the American dream – how to navigate and raise their kids in this neighborhood. I always felt that growing up. You can go to the neighbors and ask them for help and they are going to help you. Always family parties – those that are really, really, really, really monumental and special to us.
JJ: A lot of the context that informs your style and comes from the way you move through the world, plus your siblings growing up in the 90s. Can talk that you still carry with you in your day to day?
ELB: My brothers have made me: the little man I was back then, the man I am now. It was interesting to see how my brothers connected with the resources they had. You know when a little girl sees her mom put on lipstick for the first time? For me, it was watching my brothers get ready. He always had clean white sneakers, Air Forces, to be exact. Dicky always pressed, super important. Whatever was available to him, he made it work. I think having grown up in a household that was geared more toward toxic masculinity, it was interesting to see how a man could take care of himself and that was fine. It was okay to be like that.
JJ: You are also a stylist. How did you start modeling?
ELB: I started making these connections with the photographers on set, like, “Hey, let’s do a little test shoot. Even if I don’t have enough time to take a picture of you today, let’s set something up.” It started off super casual and it’s been going on ever since. Then getting more presence on social media and being myself I started getting commercial and e-commerce gigs after I started out there. To my surprise, I enjoyed it as much as I love styling.
JJ: You’ve done a lot of work across the board – modeling for photographers like Dorian Ulysses López Macias and artist Rafa Esparza for brands including Born x Raised. What is the thread connecting your work? How do you view modeling as an art form?
ELB: I think it’s collaborating with the artists who arrived [for] same goal. You don’t always have that luxury in this game, and I understand that. It’s a privilege to work with all these people – like Rafa and Dorian and Fabian [Guerrero], I think it is in the power to cooperate and speak. It’s important to me that my identity doesn’t become a caricature – portrayed as a way I grew up, and the way I pay tribute and respect to my ethnicity, my community, my family, my friends Goes beautiful, elegant and authentic.
I’m doing everything I can to communicate that. So when these editorials happen, since I’m managing myself in LA, it’s about talking to them. If that means coffee, or it means sending them a treat I’ve worked on. I am an overachiever. If they send me a deck, I have questions. I think education is very important. If I don’t have 60% to 70% prior knowledge about the job I’m about to take, I say no. There is power in saying no. Being selective with the work I do has motivated me [here],
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JJ: Did it take you a while to get comfortable in front of the camera or did it feel natural right away?
ELB: I am very aware of myself. And being self-aware is essential in this profession. No shoot is that easy. The nerves always come in. A lot of it has to do with the great responsibility that I think I carry on my shoulders – which I want to carry on my shoulders – to portray my true identity in a way that would be beautiful and respected. Will be done. It’s that type of nerve. Some would say it’s self-imposed versus being like, “Oh my god, I’m in front of a camera. I feel nervous. Am I supposed to look good?” To be quite honest with you, I wouldn’t even look at the monitor. All I’ve done is film – I love film because it’s just the trust that’s between you and the photographer. There is no mirror in front of you. It’s about emotion, feeling and then confidence.
JJ: Have you noticed the way being a stylist has made you a better model and vice versa?
ELB: The difference between modeling and styling is finally starting to pay off, in a sense. I’m lucky enough where they can send me a treat and ask, “What do you think of this? What do you think of this shoe?” Almost like a consultation. I am honored The way Style starts getting involved with modeling, they will ask me to bring stuff on the sets. The opportunity is now to collaborate with my colleagues, with stylists. It’s about respecting their position there and your position there, but in the end, we create something that’s so magical.
JJ: Does seeing yourself in photos and music videos reveal something about your own image?
ELB: Absolutely. I think seeing myself at large in these beautiful campaigns means that Brown is beautiful. that I am beautiful That people who look like me are beautiful. I know my place behind the camera, but it’s so rewarding to be in front of the camera and not have the quote-unquote beauty standards of a model we’re used to seeing. It’s beautiful and it does a lot for my self-esteem – but it inspires me. I want to take modeling more seriously than ever because I feel this responsibility…